Travels With My Father is an enjoyable travel documentary, no doubt, but the show suffers from an abundance of contrived situations and some forced dialogue that never quite allows the show to feel as organic as it perhaps should. Back for a third season, and showcased across to 2 episodes this time around, Jack Whitehall bows out his Travel documentary trilogy in a decent manner, with one final blow-out in America and a surprisingly touching finale that brings the entire trip into focus. Although the first episode takes a while to settle into the groove again, the final hour of the show is chock full of slapstick humour and some genuinely amusing segments that more than makes up for this.
I wasn’t a big fan of the second season of this show, I must admit. I felt like the humour was a little contrived and in many ways, the season simply retread familiar ground from the first season, whilst doing so in a way that tried to add more incredulous situations into the fold for Michael and Jack to overcome. I did, however, enjoy the first season and I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical over how this would be regarded in the long-term. While the third season is better than the second, it doesn’t necessarily surpass the first, although the jokes themselves and better pacing in this 2 hour journey is enough to give the show a fleeting but enjoyable feel to it.
Unlike the seasons of old, Jack Whitehall is living the high-life in L.A. Or, at least, he’s trying to. Unable to secure some big-time movie deals, he enlists the help of his Father Michael to see everything Los Angeles has to offer, with the intention being to convince his Father to move out to the States. Beginning in L.A. and ending n Vegas, the trip sees the usual array of activities, both good and bad, thrown in along the way and the best moments reserved for the second episode. From calling out bingo numbers and professional wrestling federations through to a Magik Mike live show, Travels With My Father pulls out all the stops this time around to deliver a litany of laughs as our Father and Son duo set out on another adventure.
Of course, in true Jack Whitehall fashion there’s a whole load of jokes thrown in here that stick to much of the same formula we’ve seen before in this show. At times, this does feel contrived and designed for laughs, including one segment as the crew are driving down Compton where Jack, clued up on rap music, struggles to name a single Dr Dre song, uttering “Millennium”, only to suddenly correct himself and mention it’s Will Smith. These moments do take away from what’s otherwise an enjoyable trip and this time out there’s some nice facts and figures thrown in about the various states that these two visit as well.
If you’ve never been a fan of Jack Whitehall’s comedy, Travels With My Father is unlikely to be a show for you. The third season does well to bring a more concise and urgent narrative though, and with only two episodes the show never feels like it outstays its welcome when the final credits roll. The emotional farewells at the end feel heartfelt and genuine and these fleeting moments of organic dialogue between the two are ultimately the stand-out moments of the series.
Personally, I really like Travels With My Father and certainly found myself laughing out loud several times during this season but critically, it’s hard to look past some of the forced humour and situations on display. Although an improvement from the second season, Travels With My Father continues to suffer from the same problems inherent from day one in the show. If you’re a fan of Jack’s work or enjoyed the previous seasons, you’re sure to enjoy this one too, as our comic bows out with one last hurrah before presumably putting the show to bed given the ending we receive here.
Verdict - 6/10